- Few actions by big city governments are as politically charged nowadays as the hiring of a cop.
For years, many cities kept blacks and other minorities off the police force, even while the racial makeup of their populations was changing. Then, to rectify past discrimination, many cities resorted to hiring quotas to balance the police ranks racially and offset the biases of hiring exams. The whole skewed history has guaranteed that, for years to come, hiring a cop will not be a simple personnel decision.
Chicago has a new system for police hiring and it has already come under intense criticism. It is a system, though, that deserves every chance to succeed.
The city administered a police exam in the spring to 24,000 applicants and judged the top third of the test-takers to be ``highly qualified.`` They scored between 87 and 128 on the exam.
In the recent past, the city would have "race-normed" the results of the exam, comparing members of each racial group only with others of the same group, thus giving a boost to some minority applicants.
But that wasn't necessary this time. The city aggressively pursued candidates, recruiting at college campuses and inviting non-residents to apply (with the understanding they would establish residency in the city if accepted). And the new test was devised to eliminate racial bias as much as possible.
And now here we are, 26 years later, only recruiting from one end of the spectrum.
Labels: department issues